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Meteosat 3



Meteosat P2 was a refurbished prototype of Meteosat 2. In general, the spacecraft design, instrumentation, and operation were similar to SMS/GOES. The spin-stabilized, geostationary spacecraft carried (1) a visible-IR radiometer to provide high-quality, day/night cloud-cover data and to take radiance temperatures of the earth/atmosphere system; (2) a meteorological data collection system to disseminate image data to user stations, to collect data from various earth-based platforms, and to relay data from polar-orbiting satellites; (3) a LASSO retro-reflector; and (4) an SEM-2 electron spectrometer, provided by LANL, to investigate the link between deep dielectric charging and the spacecraft anomalies seen on Meteosat 1 and 2. The cylindrically shaped spacecraft measured 210 cm in diameter and 430 cm in length, including the apogee boost motor. The primary structural members were an equipment platform and a central tube. The radiometer telescope was mounted on the equipment platform and viewed the earth through a special aperture in the side of the spacecraft. A support structure extended radially out from the central tube and was affixed to the solar panels, which formed the outer walls of the spacecraft and provided the primary source of electrical power. Located in the annulus-shaped space between the central tube and the solar panels were station-keeping and dynamics control equipment and batteries. Proper spacecraft attitude and spin rate (approximately parallel to the Earth's spin axis and approximately 100 rpm) were maintained by jet thrusters mounted on the spacecraft and activated by ground command. The spacecraft used both UHF-band and S-band frequencies in its telemetry and command systems. A lower power VHF transponder provided telemetry and command during launch and then served as a backup for the primary subsystem once the spacecraft attained synchronous orbit.

Alternate Names

  • 19215
  • Meteosat-P2
  • Meteosat3

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1988-06-15
Launch Vehicle: Ariane 44LP
Launch Site: Kourou, French Guiana
Mass: 625 kg

Funding Agency

  • EUMETSAT (International)


  • Space Physics
  • Engineering
  • Earth Science

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Coordinated Request and User Support Office



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Mr. J. AastedProject ManagerEuropean Space Agency - Toulouse
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